Chrysler’s product renaissance will be a drama in two acts: tweaks and tidal wave

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Chrysler Group's existing lineup will soon have several significant changes. The redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be shipped to dealerships in early July while the re-engineered and restyled Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger rear-drive sedans will both arrive in the first quarter of 2011.

Chrysler actually has 16 vehicles on queue this year, many of which were held up because of the emergence of Fiat from bankruptcy in June 2009.

At the end of the year, the critical second phase will begin with the arrival of the Fiat 500 minicar. Soon after, the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles based on Fiat platforms, will arrive.

Chrysler's strength is said to be found in large cars, pickups, minivans and Jeeps. CEO Sergio Marchionne believes that these vehicles will continue to be the core of Chrysler's business.

It's also predicted that Chrsyler's revival depends mostly on smaller, more fuel-efficient Fiat-based vehicles.

The Grand Cherokee was the first vehicle to get Chrysler's Pentastar V-6 engine, designed before Fiat assumed management control. Later, the powertrain offerings will be simpler, with the Pentastar engine family replacing seven V-6 engines in Chrysler vehicles.

The Fiat 500 will be the first North American car in the Chrysler-Fiat stable to get the 1.4-liter FIRE engine. The engine features MultiAir, a system that improves fuel economy and performance.

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